How to choose a getting ready location for your wedding day - NJ Wedding Photographer | Idalia Photography
Bride and mother of the bride in bridal suite at The Wave Resort

How to choose a getting ready location for your wedding day

Tips for Brides

After shooting over 250 weddings, I’ve come to realize that choosing a getting ready location for your wedding day is one of the most important choices you’ll make when wedding planning. The getting ready location is, after your venue and ceremony space, the most important space on a wedding day. It’s where you’ll spend the entire morning with your bridesmaids, where you’ll get dressed, have your bridal portraits taken, and also where your photographer will do your detail shots. That means it’s going to really impact your bridal prep photos, which are some of the most treasured photos of any wedding day. When else do you get to spend the morning with your favorite ladies getting pampered and ready to look the most beautiful you’ve ever looked before?

Most importantly, the location where you get ready will have a huge impact on setting the tone for the day. The better suited the location, the more comfortable, relaxed and joyful everyone will be. Since the getting ready location is THAT important, here are some things to look for when choosing the perfect location:

Natural light

By having windows in the bridal prep area, I’m able to create beautiful portraits with soft light. I prefer natural light, so the more windows, the better. If the venue you’ve chosen doesn’t have a bridal suite with beautiful light, you’ll want to check out nearby hotels. Of course, if you’ve already booked your wedding venue then you’re limited to the hotels in that area, so if those hotels don’t fit your wedding vision, check out local Airbnb’s.

Light-colored walls

For my style of photography, soft-colored or neutral-colored walls are best. They provide a light-colored backdrop, reflect light, and allow me to create beautiful images. It seems like a minor detail, but if you’re having a blush wedding you won’t want bright yellow, orange, or burgundy walls in the background of your images. This is why you’ll want to check out the space where you’ll get ready before you reserve it.


Think about your wedding vision and find a getting ready location that aligns with that vision. If you’re planning a laid-back outdoor wedding, you may not want to get ready at a modern hotel. Just because it’s the hotel your venue recommends for your guests doesn’t mean it’s the perfect getting ready location.

Plenty of room

Remember that there will be lots going on at your getting ready location. Not only will all of your hair/makeup artists be setting up there, but all of your bridesmaids will be there, potentially your mom and soon-to-be mother-in-law, *and* all of their belongings. That’s a lot of bags, dresses, snacks, drinks, etc! Not to mention the flowers and the space your photographer will need to do your detail shots.

Personally, I love it when my brides get their hair/makeup done in a completely separate room from where they will get dressed. This way, I don’t have to wait until the makeup artist is done using the one good window in the room to do my detail shots and start on photos of you in your robe and with your girls.

Outdoor space

It’s always a bonus when there is a nice outdoor space for you to get some extra photos with your bridesmaids during prep. They add variety to any gallery and also make it easy to pop champagne without being afraid of getting anything dirty. Plus you don’t want to be cooped up all morning – getting some fresh air is always so nice!

It’s what YOU want

Most importantly, make sure the location you’ve chosen to get ready in is really what you want. If the hotel next to your venue is less than ideal then don’t settle for it. Look for another location – think outside the box rather than choosing a spot just because that’s where all the other brides who get married at your venue get ready.

Sample Getting Ready Locations

Below are a bunch of my brides who did a really great job of choosing a getting ready location. Enjoy meeting them!!


Megan rented an Airbnb specifically for her bridal prep photos. It had a beautiful outdoor space, soft-colored walls, and loads of character.

bride and bridesmaids popping champagne at Airbnb in Ocean Grove NJBride and bridesmaid dresses in Victorian home Bride inspecting her wedding gown Bride getting ready with her bridesmaids Bridal portrait


Ariella got ready at The Wave Resort in Long Branch. It was 45 minutes from her wedding venue, but it was so worth leaving herself extra time to allow for that driving time because we were able to capture her in the most beautiful space full of natural light.

bride and bridesmaids getting ready at Wave Resort bride getting ready with mom bride and flower girls at The Wave Resort in Long Branch Bridal portrait at The Wave Resort in Long Branch NJ


Below you’ll see my bride Lydia getting ready at the farmhouse right on the grounds of the winery where she got married. It had so much character, and tied in beautifully with the style of her vineyard wedding!

bride and bridesmaids in bathtub drinking champagne at Stone Tower Winery bride reading letter from her groom at Stone Tower Winery bride getting ready with her mother at Stone Tower WineryBridal portrait at Stone Tower Winery


Here is my bride, Meredith, who got ready in her mother’s home, which was a great choice on so many levels. She and the girls had hair and makeup done downstairs in the living room and she got dressed upstairs in her parents’ room, which was well-lit and spacious and had character and neutral-colored walls. It was ideal!!

bride getting ready with maid of honor and putting on earringsmother of the bride putting on her daughter's veil


Look how cute these photos turned out for Jen, who got ready at her parents’ home. I especially loved the porch where she had a few quiet moments to read a card from her groom.

bride popping champagne with bridesmaids outside their house bride reading letter from her groom


Alyssa got ready in a rented beach house and it had the most gorgeous window light!

bride getting ready in beach housebridal portrait in Long Beach Island beach house


She got ready in the family room of her parents’ beach house. Her parents actually cleared the entire family room so that it would be the ideal spot for her to get ready. They even took down the TV that was over the fireplace and decorated the fireplace to tie in with the wedding day theme. It turned out to be such a great idea!!

bridal portraits at homebridal portraits at home with mother of the bride


Tracy got ready in the bridal suite of her venue. This bridal suite is so gorgeous and spacious – brides getting married here would be crazy not to get ready here, too!!

Bridesmaids putting on bride's veil at Park Chateau Estate Bridal portrait at Park Chateau Estate

I hope this post has given you plenty of ideas for picking the perfect location for you to get ready on your wedding morning!! Enjoy all the planning and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

Are you on Pinterest?

If you liked this post, pin this image or any from the post above!

share on:


If we haven't met yet, I'm Alex! I'm passionate about discovering beautiful stories, documenting genuine moments, and capturing timeless images along the way. Here I share our latest work, a peek into my life, and helpful resources. Thank you so much for visiting my blog!







for brides



Do you love natural light but worry that you don't know what to look out for when searching for a photographer? Click below to get my tips so that you feel confident choosing someone to capture one of the most important days of your lives.



Let’s work together!
Contact us for more details.

get in touch